Nov. 15, 2012
Sophomore Mike Evans compiled a record of 26-8 last season competing at 165 pounds for the University of Iowa wrestling team. Evans grew up in Enola, Pa., and attended high school at Blair Academy in Blairstown, N.J.
What sticks out of all the lessons you learned during your first season in the varsity lineup?
Evans: The biggest lesson is, if you get a chance to put a guy down or put him away or score, you have to put him down, and you have to put him down hard.
How would you evaluate the Big Ten Conference/NCAA championship portion of your season a year ago?
Evans: I don't think I did as well as I could have done at NCAAs. When you look at it and you see guys that you beat up on the stand, it kind of ticks you off. This year I have to be more prepared than I was last year. (Evans posted wins against four eventual All-Americans in 2011-12).
You don't need people to make excuses for you, but you didn't seem to have the same energy level in St. Louis. Was there a reason for that?
Evans: Everything was there that needed to be there except my focus. I was in shape, I was ready to go. Mentally I think I got a little overwhelmed. It was my first time being there, and I let it happen to myself.
How will the back-to-back 3-2 losses to Paul Gillespie (Hofstra) and Ben Jordan (Wisconsin) at the NCAA Championships inspire you this season?
You have to stay motivated. You can't give them an inch or it turns into a mile. I gave up a few inches at NCAAs and it cost me.
What is the view of Iowa wrestling in the state of Pennsylvania?
Evans: Before I actually knew what Iowa was about, I always thought the program was just a bunch of brainwashed Neanderthals.
Why did you decide to come here?
Evans: It was more the direction from my head coach (Jeff Buxton) and a lot of my club coaches when I was growing up. They said Iowa's style matched me, and they said it would be a good fit for me here. When I got out here, it really changed my perception of what the Iowa program is really about.
Give us an inside perspective of what daily practices are like in the Dan Gable Wrestling Complex:
Evans: Practice is what you make it. If you come in with an attitude not to work, you're not going to get anything out of it, you're not going to make yourself better, and practice isn't going to be hard. If you come in with the mindset that you're going to battle for every point and score a lot of points, it's going to be a hard practice. If you're hanging out by the water cooler, you're not going to get anything done.
In what ways will you benefit from having Ryan Morningstar on the coaching staff?
Evans: It's another body to wrestle, it's another mind to mold all of us. It's another coach to step up. I'm kind of on the edge between sizes, but now we have Morningstar, who is exactly my size, so it's perfect.
Fans had a lot of fun last season with the Mike Evans `stache. What is the facial hair plan this season?
Evans: I would be doing handlebars this year if it was allowed.
How demanding is competing as a wrestler in the Big Ten Conference?
Evans: There aren't any duals you can take off, but the mindset of Iowa wrestling is there isn't a match you can take off. There is nobody you can overlook.
You have never lost in Carver-Hawkeye Arena (9-0). Describe the feeling wrestling in your home venue:
Evans: It's awesome. You get so much adrenaline walking down the tunnel, you get even more adrenaline when they call you out when fans are cheering for you. There is no better feeling.